Posts Tagged ‘Soul’

Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video) In this day and age of ringtone rappers, one-hit wonders, and soft-core sex-laden R&B, it’s like a breath of fresh air when a hidden gem can shine through all the filler. With a small selection of songs in commercial radio’s playlist, consumers sometimes are force-fed a daily dose of “microwave music” where the supply often overshadows the demand. Quality soul music is more abundant than one may think…you just have to “listen”. Julie Dexter is here to fulfill that demand. The world-renowned, Birmingham, England-bred, singer/songwriter displayed her dynamic range at a rare showcase this past weekend at the new “it” spot, julie dThe Shrine (located at 2109 S. Wabash). Julie Dexter’s vibrant style and jazzy vocals exude soul and her followers came out to support her. The showcase presented by IGM Entertainment had a record crowd turn out to hear the UK songstress perform favorites such as “Ketch A Vibe” and “Faith” off her 2002 album, “Dexterity”. The very popular jazz group, Zzaje, backed the intimate performance at The Shrine. Dexter, who has shared the stage with soulful legends such as Sade and modern heavy-hitters like Jill Scott, Eric Roberson, and Amel Larrieux kicked off her set with a tribute to another legend that inspired her by the name of Michael Jackson. She later transitioned to a jazzy bebop version of Beyonce’s “Déjà vu” that would have made the best “scatters” proud. After paying homage to other greats, Julie Dexter gave the crowd what they came to see…a one-hour set spanning her decade plus career from her first EP, 2000’s “Peace of Mind” to 2005’s “Conscious”. It’s not too late to get familiar with this classically trained musician who writes, arranges, composes and produces her own music. “The Julie Dexter Collection” drops this fall. Do yourself a favor and “Ketch the Vibe”. www.juliedexter.com

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Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video)
If you’re looking for great music and networking in a “chill-axed” atmosphere, you have to swing by “Groove Sessions” tonight at The Joynt (located at 640 N. Dearborn) in Downtown Chicago. This weekly event is hosted by Jessica Williams and Miisha McCullar of IGM Entertainment and features some of the hottest and most eclectic bands that range from Neo-Soul to Latin Jazz. This is definitely a sophisticated and sexy crowd, so make sure you bring your “swag” intact. Tonight’s guests will be treated to the soulful, Latin sounds of the Noguera Evolution Quartet. Doors open at 8pm and admission is complimentary until 10pm. There is a $10 cover after 10pm and the event goes until 2am. To get on the mailing list, make sure you hit up IGM at igmentertainment@yahoo.com.

Since the weather will be much warmer, there’s plenty to get into this weekend…On Friday, Chicago Bulls Superstar, Ben Gordon, will be hosting this month’s “First Fridays Chicago” for the “All Black Attire Affair” kindred2at Alahambra Palace (located at 1240 W. Randolph). This upscale event will also feature a special guest appearance by husband and wife R&B/Soul duo, Kindred. Meanwhile, the sounds will be pumped throughout the night on two luxurious levels by DJs: Timbuk 2, Mark Fullaflava, Maurice “Ice” Culpepper, and 33 1/3. The event runs from 9pm-2am.

In a city where many claim “doesn’t support it’s hometown artists”, the Chicago music community will unite on Saturday, March 7th at the Harold Washington Cultural Center (located at 4701 S. King Drive) for the Chicago Hip-Hop Classic. This celebration of Chicago’s local hip-hop scene will be comprised of a concert and music symposium where artists, music executives, and music lovers can come together for positive inspiration. Artists such as Pheave, Que B.I.L.L.A.H., Gemstones, Polie Da Great, Twone Gabz, Jak Frost and dance troupe Final Phaze will all be performing. Doors open at 6pm and the show starts at 7pm. Tickets for this all ages show can be purchased in advance for $10 at www.amusicexperience.com, or $15 at the door. The Chicago Hip-Hop Classic is presented by GO Sity Entertainment and Bo Beniz.


If you’re looking for something a little different and want to support a great cause, check out Chicago Takes Off, an annual burlesque revue-style show where Chicago’s Dance community struts their stuff in support of the TPAN (Test Positive Aware Network), a support group that empowers individuals living with HIV and AIDS and educates the community as a whole about HIV and HIV prevention. These colorful and flamboyant shows will take place this Saturday at the Park West (322 W. Armitage) at 7:30p and 10pm. Seats are limited and can be reserved at http://www.chicagotakesoff.org.

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Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video)

From the moment I met this soul diva back in high school, I knew she had a voice sent from heaven.  Rhythm & Blues runs through her blood (literally) and you can hear it in every lyric and every note she delivers.  She’s had three major album releases, which in this day and age of the music business is rare…most artists get one shot.  She’s hit three in a row…So why is Syleena Johnson “R&B’s Best Kept Secret”??? Well, the secret is finally out.

Chi-town’s own soul siren is “delivering” another chapter in the book of Syleena with her fourth album release, “Chapter 4: Labor Pains” set to hit retail and online distributors on September 2nd, 2008, the day after Labor Day.  There is more significance and irony to the title because the release date is also Syleena’s “born day” and like her previous releases, the inspiration for the album is drawn from life experiences such as becoming a wife and a mother over the past year.

In this day of digital downloading and decreasing album sales, this album is even more of a “labor of love” since this is Syleena’s foray into the independent route.  She recently launched her own label Aneelys Records (Syleena spelled “Backwards”) which came via an exclusive worldwide distribution deal through Federal/Universal Music Group.  Instead of having a major machine with the major marketing dollars, all the risks and hard work will be taken on by Syleena and her “A-Team”.

Syleena kept the production in-house (so to speak) by enlisting hometown producer Toxic for her amazing lead single, “It Is True” which is now getting rotation at Urban AC radio outlets.  This heavenly ballad professes Syleena’s true love for her new family in a beautiful and compelling way.  The listener will get drawn in from the opening angellic harps backing Syleena’s sultry voice as she weaves a tale about “girl meets boy”, they fall in love, and grow old together. 

Although a lot of Syleena’s music deals with the pains and struggles of women, one continuous message throughout her music and everyday life is the strength she gets from God.  “Labor Pains” I’m sure will be no different in that regard.

As always, support your local artists and make sure you check out “Labor Pains” when it drops.  Real Rhythm & Blues is coming back!


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